Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Beagle sitting in a field

The coronavirus pandemic has been a confusing and concerning time for dog owners, which is why we've compiled the latest information, tips and advice to help you understand more about Covid-19, the risks to your dog and what you should do if you catch it.

Can dogs catch, get or transmit coronavirus?

Covid-19 is spread through human-to-human transmission and there is no evidence of dog-to-human transmission. The alleged animal source of virus remains under investigation.

Research suggests that people with Covid-19 can sometimes infect their pets, but this appears to be a rare occurrence. Studies are underway to help us better understand how the infection spreads in animals.

If dogs aren’t transmitting Covid-19, why are there a small number of cases of dogs positive?

There have been a very small number of reports of pets testing positive for the novel coronavirus following close contact with infected humans. It seems that most do not show any symptoms, but it is possible that some infected pets may develop mild effects. Severe effects are extremely rare.

Can my dog become unwell from Covid-19?

A small handful of pets from around the world have tested positive for Covid-19. It is uncommon for dogs to become unwell from close contact with someone with Covid-19, but infected dogs could develop mild symptoms. Severe effects in pets are extremely rare.

If your dog is unwell, for any reason, then contact your vet to find out what is causing their illness.

Can dogs catch other types of coronavirus?

Coronavirus are a large group of viruses and there are many different types. Most coronaviruses tend to only affect one species and they do not spread between species. This new type of coronavirus (Covid-19) is mainly being passed between humans. There are certain strains of coronavirus that do more commonly affect dogs (such as canine respiratory coronavirus), but these are different from Covid-19 and cannot be passed to humans.

If this new coronavirus originally came from animals should I be worried about my dog?

It is thought that Covid-19 originated in China, but the exact source of the infection is still under investigation. Although it is believed that the virus jumped from an animal to a human, it does not mean that all animals can spread the virus. Currently there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 can be transmitted to humans through dogs.

What precautions should I take if i get Covid?

If you have tested positive for the virus or are symptomatic, you should limit physical contact with your dog – as hard as it may be.

You may wish to take extra hygiene precautions. These could include:
  • Avoid your dog licking your face
  • Bathe your dog more often, but be careful not to dry out their skin
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water after touching them and preparing their food
If you have Covid-19, then, to avoid the spread of the disease, you may want to call ahead to any appointments to see if they have a policy about you attending. This applies to:
  • Veterinary appointments
  • Grooming appointments
  • Dog training
  • Dog shows and events
If you are not well enough to walk or care for your dog, ask a friend, neighbour or relative if they can help you out.

There is also support available from various online local community groups and charities, including The Cinnamon Trust – a specialist national charity that helps the elderly to look after their much-loved and much-needed companion animals. They have a network of over 17,000 volunteers all over the UK who help pet owners provide vital loving care for their pets and help keep them together – whether this is through walking dogs or fostering them when their owners are in hospital. During this time of uncertainty, volunteers are on hand to help the elderly or vulnerable that might be in self-isolation or feeling poorly and can’t get out.

What can I do to keep my dog active if I'm self-isolating??

If you are self-isolating, and do not feel comfortable or well enough to walk your dogs, then here are some tips to try indoors or in a garden, if you have one:
  • Play hide and seek with your dog – hiding treats or toys around the house for them to find
  • If you have a garden, let them out to play, run around, sniff and explore
  • Teach your dog new tricks or practice training
  • The Kennel Club has advice and ideas of things to do at home with your dog or puppy – from teaching recall to fun outdoor games

What's the guidance in my area?

You can find the latest guidance for your nation in the links below.
During the pandemic, we have been in regular contact with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to keep up to date with the latest developments and to gain further clarification on the UK Government’s Covid-19 advice for pet owners.